HOPEWELL: Another call for civility at township committee meetings


To the editor:

When the usual suspects, the predictable parade of detractors, approach the podium during public comment, to talk intentionally at cross purposes to imply the committee is doing other than their absolute best work serving the township, never once have I heard those who take umbrage with their words shout out one word of protest while they are speaking.

And there are many things I’d like to shout out, in defense of this committee, who is constantly attacked by the same people every other Monday night.

I would love to interrupt. Correction, I would love to stand up and shout them and their baseless insinuations down.

But I don’t. Why? Because I believe in their right to comment publicly without being interrupted. Even if I hate what they are saying and the way they are saying it.

On June 11, when I got up to praise the committee for their hard work and object to their treatment, I was interrupted by a former mayor sitting in the audience! Twice!

Once, he called out “committee!” alluding to the fact that I’m a member of the Hopewell Township Democratic Committee. True. But I’m also a resident of Brandon Farms and hold progressive values. Biased? Definitely. I believe in tolerance, inclusiveness and civility!

The second time he interrupted me it was to correct me. I referred to the committee members as volunteers. Fair point. However, the scant remuneration they receive for the hours upon hours of work they perform on our behalf probably just about covers the gas required to get to the myriad meetings and other activities they undertake, many of them on their own initiative.

I do have one criticism of this committee and it is this. Why are these few people allowed to harass anyone who dares to approach the podium to point out the incredible good this committee is doing, and to thank them for sacrificing the time with their families and friends to make sure our local government is professionally run and continuously optimized?

I hope that in future meetings the committee will take additional steps to ensure civility at township meetings so that all voices can be heard without unwelcome, unproductive and out of order comments from those with another agenda sitting in the audience.

Helena Bouchez

Brandon Farms

Hopewell Township